Renfrew County ARES
The OSARVA LOGO as designed by Renfrew County ARES Member spouse Barbara Blackstein. The six areas of the province.
"During Sarscene 97, OSARVA, Ontario Search and Rescue Volunteer Association was formed. This organization is split into six regions, these regions have the same boundaries as the OPP regions. All volunteer SAR organizations in Ontario should become a member of this organization, each SAR group who joins this organization will be trained to OPP standards and will be given certificates stated that you have passed the standards set by the OPP. This certificate will allow you to join in a search anywhere in Ontario and possibly Canada. If your organization does not want to join this organization, OPP will not use your organization to do searches."
Formed in 1997, the Ontario SAR Volunteer Association, OSARVA, is working diligently to represent the numerous volunteer groups which exist in Ontario. Ontario government regulations require that any civilian participating in a search in this province must have a valid, current OSARVA certification.
Approximately 20 members of the Renfrew County Amateur Radio Emergency Services attended training and obtained certification by the Ontario Provincial Police in Petawawa Ontario during the period of December 3'rd,4'th, and 5'th, 1999. Since it's inception, OSARVA has undergone several significant changes and during a an annual meeting held April 12'th and 13'th, 2003, in Orillia at OPP headquarters and attended by an ARES Renfrew County representative, some of the most significant advancements in the OSARVA group have come to light. This has included amongst other things a change in some of the leadership rolls, as well as a revised set of OSARVA bylaws. (Which we hope to see published on the OSARVA web site.)
The Renfrew County ARES group maintained a membership with OSARVA for many years, but with an increase in the annual fees, and the increasing age of our ARES members, it was decided to drop our membership at the beginning of 2006.
Under the umbrella of OSARVA, the Renfrew County ARES group have been activated a number of times by the OPP ERT (Emergency Response Team) to assist in Search and Rescue attempts in and around our region. Our efforts were met with great respect and those sentiments were reflected by the Senior OPP officer in charge on several occasions. Not only were our people trained and prepared to join in a search and rescue but we as ARES members provided the much needed communications to cover the distance and terrain of the search. A most instances, a radio control center was set up in the OPP command post 5'th wheel trailer, and our OSARVA trained ARES personnel were distributed amongst the OPP search teams to provide the communications link back to the command post. This challenge was met, and in most OPP ERT members words, it far exceeded the expectations of the OPP.